In 2015, content will still be king, and many of the year’s most important marketing trends will be related to how ecommerce marketers use content to boost sales or collect new leads with whom to share content.
Recently, Smart Insights, a consulting and publishing firm, surveyed about 600 marketers, asking what sort of digital marketing they believed would be the most important in 2015. Some 29.6 percent, or more than a quarter, said content marketing. By comparison, Big Data was in second place with 14.6 percent of respondents, and search engine optimization was important to just 4.3 percent of those surveyed.
Here are four content-related marketing trends that could impact ecommerce in the coming year.
Content Marketing Will Be Even More Important
Content marketing is often defined as the art and science of creating, publishing, distributing, and promoting content with the aim of attracting, engaging, or retaining customers.
As a marketing discipline, content marketing is important for at least three reasons.
First, content marketing can often reach customers who are otherwise inundated with promotions and ads, since the same folks that use an online ad blocker to hide banner advertising also seek out articles, podcasts, and videos that they find helpful, entertaining, or interesting, even when those videos are obviously related to products and ecommerce.
Second, content marketing is relatively easy to measure so that savvy marketers can track engagement with content directly to sales. Using cookies, data from social logins, Google Analytics data, and similar methods, it is possible to know a lot about how a particular bit of content drives ecommerce sales.
Third, content marketing has become vital for attracting organic traffic from search engines. The best practitioners are not keyword stuffing, worried about keyword density, or getting lots of low-quality links. Rather they are focused on creating content that folks want to read and that search engines will likely index.
Within the context of these three strengths — reach, easy measurement, and traffic magnet — content marketing is a very effective tool, which is why it is likely to become even more important for marketers in 2015.
As an example, consider a case study (PDF) from electronic storage firm SanDisk. Among the products that SanDisk makes are solid-state drives (SSDs). These drives are a longer lasting, better performing replacement for the hard drive that one might hear spinning in his laptop. To help demonstrate that upgrading to SSDs make sense, SanDisk replaced about 4,600 hard drives in use in laptops at its own facilities. The switch resulted in a 33-percent increase in how long computers could be used; a 35-percent increase in employee productivity; and a 20-percent increase in laptop battery life.
Content Marketing Goes Multimedia
Don’t be surprised if ecommerce businesses, even some relatively small ones, start to produce more product videos, more how-to videos, and more videos generally. Also look for podcasts, informational graphics, and sharable photographic content.
Content Personalization Will Get Easier
In “Using Omni-channel Personalization for Ecommerce,” Contributing Editor Gagan Mehra described some of the benefits of ecommerce personalization, including increased customer loyalty, improved revenue, lower order abandonment rates, and better understanding customers.
In 2014, many online sellers used personalization to help reap the sorts of benefits that Mehra described, particularly around how or when content is displayed. But there are many more ecommerce firms that have not really tapped into personalization because they believe that they did not have the capability serve up personalized shopping experiences.
Social Media Will Feed Leads for Email and Content
There is a sense in which social media has been somewhat disappointing for ecommerce marketers. Many marketers will remember the hype over Facebook commerce. Some even created a new word for it, “fcommerce.” But many online retailers that opened shops on Facebook quickly closed them. It just didn’t work as well as some had hoped for.
Nonetheless, social media remains an important part of ecommerce marketing.
In 2015, more marketers may use social media sites as a way to collect leads, if you will, that will in turn be used to feed email and content marketing campaigns.
As an example, a retailer might host a contest or a sweepstakes on Facebook using a tool like Woobox. Folks who enter would provide an email address, and win or lose the merchant might send them a coupon code, simply for signing up.